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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. Latest on the day's top news stories  
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    October 3, 2012
    2:00 - 4:00pm EDT  

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a huge trading partner of ours. that impacts our manufacturers. an even bigger issue weighing on the u.s. is the fiscal cliff, and economists say we can go into a recession if the spending cuts and tax increases kick in all at once in january. that kind of uncertainty is freezing businesses from doing any hiring. >> alison kosik, thank you. "cnn newsroom" continues now with brooke baldwin. >> thank you so much. hi, everyone. i'm brooke baldwin. so exciting. seven hours and counting until the presidential debate tonight. mitt romney, he is gaining in two swing states. could this be romney's springboard? romney has whittled the president's lead, take a look. he's whittled the president's lead in the two percentage points in virginia. this is according to a poll released today by marist college, the wall street journal and also nbc news. two-point lead for obama, that's down five points last month. keep in mind we're talking virginia, that's 13 electoral votes there. and check it out, similar story
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for you in florida. 29 electoral votes there. now, a one-point, one-point lead for obama, down from four points in september. we should mention here that poll shows the president still with the seven-point lead in ohio. we can't forget about ohio. but speaking nationwide here, the president's lead, in our cnn poll of polls, you can see it here, stands at 3 percentage points, unchanged. as we noticed today, kind of interesting, the president has gained one point and romney dropped one point. this is the gallup national tracking poll. obama with a six-point lead there, six-point lead in that one. the point to remember yet again here, game on in virginia. game on in florida with tonight's debate less than seven hours away. let's go straight to denver and to jim acosta. and, jim, does team romney, do they see the polls we ran
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through, is this a sign the race is tightening, is the wind in romney's sails, is it there going into tonight? >> they do, actually. i just got off the phone with a couple of romney campaign sources, brooke. i can tell you that the romney campaign does see this race tightening right now and that their game plan for tonight, as it was laid out to me, is to make sure that trajectory as one romney campaign source put it continues. they want to see the race continue to tighten. it is interesting to give you a couple of nuggets i got off the phone call a few moments ago, they are not going to be looking for a knockout punch tonight. what they're hoping to do for the american people is show a contrast, a clear contrast as they call it between the president's handling of the economy and what mitt romney would do were he elected president to fix the economy. so that is basically the game plan from the romney campaign, do no harm and live to fight another day. >> it is interesting to say he's not looking for a knockout punch, that's apparently what shannon o'brien who was hoping
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to win that gubernatorial race in massachusetts back in 2002, that's what he said she was so good at. we're talking to her later. romney has been pretty -- he's been known to get forceful, jim, when he lets his dander up, if you will. let's look at a clip here from a debate, a year ago, this is romney, rick perry, mostly romney. roll it. >> the way the rules work here is i get 60 seconds, and you get -- and you get 30 seconds to respond, right? anderson -- would you please wait? are you just going to keep talking? >> yes. >> are you going to let me finish with what i have to say. >> remember that moment? i guess my question, having seen that back and forth, remember, you know, romney kind of getting into rick perry's face, can you be that aggressive toward the president of the united states? >> i don't think so, brooke. you know, when i think mitt romney gets on that stage tonight, and keep in mind the romney campaign has been saying, look, they have never done a general election debate before
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obviously. but this -- there is already going to be an advantage for mitt romney going into this because he's going to be sitting on the same stage with the president of the united states for a lot of romney supporters out there, and perhaps some undecided voters out there, they're going to see mitt romney sort of in that role, as potential commander in chief, and that right there is sort of an edge to mitt romney. that's why you hear the obama campaign saying we think that he has sort of that natural advantage going into all of this. but i really don't think you're going to see mitt romney get testy the way he did during those gop debates in part because, you know, there was so much pressure on each of these individual candidates during those debates to have breakout moments because they were sharing the stage with seven or eight other guys. this is going to be -- and michele bachmann, this is going to be like an extended conversation on domestic issues, they'll be going through six different topics with jim lehrer. jim lehrer is such a mild mannered guy, that i think he'll try to keep the tone of the
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debate civil. i think that will also -- i think that will also affect what we see and hear tonight. >> we shall see. jim acosta, jim, thanks for me there in denver. and we showed you mitt romney, that clip and that pretty contentious debate from late last year. for the president, though, you have to reach back to 2008 to get a hint of his debate demeanor. check this out with me. first, with hillary clinton at the time obama's rival for the democratic nomination for president. >> set of assertions made by senator clinton as well as her husband that are not factually accurate. and -- >> you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. you talk about the surge, the war started in 2003. and the -- and at the time, when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy you said you knew where the weapons of mass destruction were, you were wrong. >> so that was a little taste for you on how the president goes into attack mode. jessica yellin, chief white
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house correspondent, also out there in denver for us. there is all this talk about, you know, what romney's challenge is going into tonight's debate. but what about the president? what about the challenge facing the president? is there any chance he takes the fight to romney? >> yes, in the sense that i expect that he will try to force romney to drill down and get specific about some of the tax changes that he would specify with the ways he would trim the deficit. his campaign -- the president's campaign already signaled that. here is how his deputy campaign manager steffi cutter put it in a new video they put out today, brooke. >> mitt romney hasn't given us any specific details of his economic plans. so we can use tonight's debate to give us the details for first time ever, or we can spend 90 minutes doing what we know he's good at, attacking the president, distorting his own record, and avoiding any and all details of his plans for the country. >> now, obviously that's
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expectation setting and priming the media to already start looking for any specifics, weaknesses by romney in getting into the details. but it does mean that we should start looking for the president to push the governor on those kinds of issues. i do think the president has separate challenges, but this is what we should see the president get aggressive on tonight, brooke. >> okay. also we should point out, jessica, it is interesting timing, this date here, it coincides with a certain significant milestone in the president's life. which you talked about with the first lady. >> i wonder if in your wildest dreams you ever imagined that you would be spending your 20th wedding anniversary on a double date with the romneys. >> yeah, no, i can't say that this would have been the plan 20 years ago. >> oh, how romantic, jessica yellin. i love how you asked the question. happy 20th to the president and the first lady. is she out there with him? is ann romney there?
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are their children there? >> both candidates' wives will be here. but not yet. the first lady, sort of funny, the president has been having his debate prep in nevada. the first lady is holding a campaign event in nevada. but they're at separate locations and will be flying to denver separately and meeting up here for the first time. she'll see him before the debate, but it is hardly, i think, the kind of date any couple would want for their 20th wedding anniversary. she did say she expects to -- he'll make it up to her at another time. >> i guess a presidential debate is a pretty decent excuse. jessica yellin for us in denver. jessica, we'll look for you later. thank you so much. cnn's live coverage of tonight's debate begins at 7:00 eastern. call it the debate before the debate. we're about to show you what each candidate will probably say tonight in his own words. i'm brooke baldwin. the news is now.
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the woman who battled mitt romney ten years ago joins me live on how their debate gave romney a major boost. plus -- >> middle class has been buried the last four years. >> as mitt romney prepares his talking points, republicans pounce on joe biden's comments. economist ben stein joins me live. and -- >> so you might think the best seat in the house is on the floor. but i would argue it is on this reiser right here. >> the images you won't see on tv tonight. greetings from the windy city of chicago. people here sure are friendly but some have had a hard time understanding my accent. so to make sure people get every word of the geico savings message i've been practicing how to talk like a true chicagoan. switching to geico could save you hundreds of dollars on car insurance... da bears. haha... you people sure do talk funny.
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are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well. try this... bayer? this isn't just a headache. trust me, this is new bayer migraine.
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[ male announcer ] it's the power of aspirin plus more in a triple action formula to relieve your tough migraines. new bayer migraine formula. ...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. you know this, mitt romney facing a huge debate that really could make or break his campaign. and, look, he's been here before. and no, i'm not talking about the primaries. i'm talking about 2002, massachusetts and the governor's race. >> and i'll try my darnedest but i can't see how you get -- >> he addressed you directly.
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>> the last debate, the numbers you put on the table weren't real numbers, they were numbers pulled out of the air. >> numbers pulled out of the air. woman there on the left-hand side of your screen is democrat shannon o'brien. she actually -- she led romney in the polls back in 2002 in that gubernatorial race. until the very end. she ended up losing to him in a real squeaker. and romney's performance in the last of the five debates is credited with winning the largely democratic state. so who better to talk about what we should be looking for, what we can expect strategiwise, in that debate tonight is shannon o'brien, joining me live from boston. welcome, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> i've watched a lot of debates, read about the debates, and you were tough. and when you look at some of the polls, you were up by, shannon, as much as eight points. so what i want to know in those maybe the fourth or the fifth debate there, what happened, specifically what did mitt romney do that, you know, really helped him beat you?
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>> well, one, i think we see a similar pattern, one, he spent a lot of money on negative advertising, about 3.5 to 1 over the money we spent in the campaign. but in that final debate i think he got a lot better as a debater. first two debates, many people think that i won those two debates, whatever that decision is, but in the last debate, i think that he really came into his own, he was very practiced, spent a lot of time doing debate prep, getting practice, getting one liners, getting the zingers and being tougher in the final debate. ultimately that final debate was something that was a major factor in him winning the 2002 governor's race. >> more questions for you on specifics. let's play a little bit more of -- this is part of the final -- >> oh, please don't. >> final debate. here we go. >> okay. >> shannon, i can tell you again, i did not in any way acknowledge their endorsement, nor do i -- when you say accept it, in what way did i accept it. >> ask your campaign
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spokesperson. >> i don't have a campaign spokesperson. i'm here now and i tell you i do not take the position of a pro-life candidate. i'm in favor of preserving and protecting a woman's right to choose and your effort to continue to try and create fear and deception here is unbecoming. >> unbecoming, shannon. is it tough for you to watch these older tapes and why is it and what is going through your mind while you're watching him take you to task. >> it has been a long time. it has been ten years, but i think you go back and you look and you see one of the sort of hallmarks of mitt romney as a political candidate is that he's not consistent on the issues. and back then i was saying very clearly and probably getting too frustrated in the debate that he was not pro choice, which massachusetts is a pretty pro choice state. and within months of him becoming -- he flipped his position on that. he flipped his position on a number of things and was on his way to running for higher office.
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>> despite some of the flipping, critics say he's done that from then until now. he won. can you be specific with me, just strategically speaking, when it comes to his oratory skills, what did he do so right? >> i think what he did right is one very, very practiced, no -- doesn't leaf anything to chance. i think we have seen when he does leave things to chance he can make some mistakes. he's practicing. i heard he said something like a half dozen practice dates, spent a lot of time off the campaign trail getting ready. he will be practiced, he will be ready, he will be tough. he'll be a tough challenge to president obama. >> let's play another clip. one more. here we go. >> oh, my god. >> mr. romney, despite your best efforts, there is still some skepticism as to whether you will serve out all four years if elected governor. perhaps this might be a way to prove it. would you be willing to write a check for, say, a million dollars to be forfeited to the state if you renege on that promise and do not survive all
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four years? >> i'm not wild about gimmicks, i must admit. and i'm afraid it would bounce anyway. so -- but let's stand back -- let's stand back and -- >> so in watching that then, shannon, and i'm sure you watched some of the primary debates this past year, have you seen any major differences in mitt romney from then until now? >> yeah, he got a lot cheaper. the last time he was trying to bet it was only $10,000, not a million dollars. in all reality, in all reality i think that he's gotten better as a debater. he's had over 20 debates with his republican opponents. that certainly, i think, will help him tonight. that being said, even though i think his debating tactics and style will certainly be very well honed tonight, i think it is the issues that people are going to focus on. the 47% remark that he made recently about not really caring about the 47% of america who is,
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you know, looking to get some help or support from the united states government, i think that's going to hurt him. and ultimately i think that people in this country believe that barack obama is looking out for their interests, for their economic interests and for their future. >> it is clear where you stand politically. i don't want to ask you who you want to win, but honestly, who do you think will win tonight? >> i think on style i think right now i have to give the points to mitt romney. i think he's very well practiced. he's been apparently memorizing the zingers. i think he'll be very relaxed. when it comes to the substance, i think we'll have barack obama. so ultimately the people are going to have to choose who wins tonight. >> shannon o'brien, thank you very much. thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me back to 2002. we appreciate it. just ahead, new information and images following that deadly attack at the u.s. consulate in libya, benghazi, which killed four americans including the u.s. ambassador. up next, an exclusive look at
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just a quick warning here, before we show you and tell you this next story, some of the
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images you're about to see are tough to look at, if you have little kids in the room, might be a good time to get them to turn away. a brutal attack that killed 25 people at this nigerian university may have been an inside job in which gunmen called out the names of their targets before killing them. at least this is what a police spokesman is saying. most of the dead were students. police say gunmen attacked the school monday night, some victims' throats slit. investigators are trying to figure out if this attack might be related to upcoming campus elections. and the u.s. is reportedly gathering detailed information about suspects who may have been responsible for that deadly attack on the u.s. consulate in libya. the new york times is reporting today no final decision has been made, but potential military options could include drone strikes, special operations raids, or joint missions with libyan authorities. and as you can see here, we are getting some brand-new images
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from inside the consulate days after that deadly attack. arwa damon, you're senior international correspondent, takes you inside the room where ambassador chris stevens spent his final moments. >> reporter: that chair right there next to the chair is where we found the ambassador's journal. this was shut, the metal door blocking that off. you can see it right there. there was pretty much no way to get out because all of the windows at the point where we were there had metal on the exterior of them, except for the one window where the ambassador's body was carried out, that is how we crawled in. eyewitnesses who were there said they had to physically remove the bars from that building, you see it right there, they had to remove the bars from the window to get the ambassador's body out. what we also so while we were there is things one would have assumed would have been of interest to investigators had they gone. the toilet in this safe room
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suite as we call it has a very strange, what seems to be a very strange blood stain on the side of it. you see it in the images right there. we don't know what that is. we don't know what happened, but it raises a lot of questions as to what could have taken place. there is another part in the same area where it looks like a hand print is on the wall, that is slid down. again, a lot of unanswered questions. >> arwa damon reporting for us there. house republicans are pushing the state department for answers to their security questions at a planned hearing next wednesday. secretary of state hillary clinton said she has created a review panel, but will work with a congressional committee as well. back to politics here, because we're not going too far away from that, folks, it is debate night in america. we'll give you a glimpse of the future by taking a look back. ally bank. why they have a raise your rate cd. tonight our guest, thomas sargent.
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sure, we have been talking a lot about what you will see tonight when president obama faces off with mitt romney. now, we want to show you how through their stump speeches, this is point, counterpoint from the campaign trail on just a cull couple of issues facing america now. here now the debate before the debate. >> he thinks if we spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts for the wealthiest americans, if we get rid of regulations on wall street, all our problems will be solved and jobs and prosperity will trickle down on all of you. the deficit will disappear, we'll live happily ever after. >> there is only one problem with that, we tried that in the decade before i became president. it didn't work. top down economics never works. >> i know there are some people in this country that think that
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the government's role is to take from some to give to others. i'm not talking about the effort to care for those in need. we're a compassionate people, we always care for those that have needs of one kind or another and help people get back on their feet. but he wants to redistribute and the idea is to try and level incomes. and that's a concept which is not entirely novel, it has been tried other places in the world. it just never worked. the only system that ever worked to create permanent middle class prosperity is free enterprise and free people pursuing their dreams. i have five things i'm going to do to get this economy going. and they're going to create 12 million jobs. number one, taking advantage of our energy resources, our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewable, getting north american energy independence, that will keep our gasoline prices more moderate. it will also provide us with a lot of jobs and the energy sector and in manufacturing.
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because when energy is less expensive, manufacturing will come home. >> you can look at his plan and you can look at my plan. because he wants to keep open the tax loopholes that encourage jobs overseas. i want to make sure that we're providing tax breaks from companies right here in america. i want to help big factories and small businesses double their exports. i want more goods stamped with made in america. i want to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. >> obama care is point number one. it is the example number one where he wants to put bureaucrats between you and your doctor, he believes that the government should tell you what kind of insurance you have to have. he believes that government should have a board of people that tell you what kind of care you can receive. my view is we fight for freedom in this country, i do not want an intrusive massive larger debt spending government that crushes the american dream. >> they like to call it obama care, well, let me tell you, i do care.
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i care about all the young people who are able to stay on their parents' plans now. i care about the seniors who are seeing lower prescription drug costs. i care about folks with pre-existing conditions who can't be denied care now. governor romney has promised that he would overturn obama care on its first day in office. which means -- which means he would kick nearly 7 million young people off their parents' plans. he would make seniors prescription drugs more expensive, you know, maybe we should call his plan romney doesn't care. we don't believe anybody is entitled to success in this country. we don't believe government should help folks who aren't willing to try to help themselves. but we do believe in something called opportunity. we do believe in a country where hard work pays off.
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where responsibility is rewarded. where everyone gets a fair shot. and everybody is doing their fair share. and everybody plays by the same rules. >> i think the big difference between the choice people have and in following our president and his plan, which is more government, more stimulus, more borrowing, more deficits, more intrusiveness, both in business and in our personal lives, and the path i'm describing, more freedom, more opportunity, more economic choice, that path i'm describing is based upon the principles the country was found upon. >> the debate before the debate. cnn's live coverage of tonight's debate in denver, colorado, begins at 7:00 eastern time. it is being called president obama's other race speech. problem is, only certain right wingers are the ones calling it that and billing it as news. even though it is old. really, really old.
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chances are you have probably seen this video making the rounds today, it is featured on several conservative blogs and media outlets, this video here from 2007, from the speech by then senator and presidential candidate barack obama. the daily collar dug up a full video of the speech, posting it online, calling it an exclusive, calling it obama's other race speech. joe johns, let me go to you there in washington. joe, to be crystal clear, there is absolutely nothing new about this speech, it is five years old. so my question to you, is -- why is this popping up now? why is this being trumpeted by so many conservative media outlets, of course, the timing on the eve of the first presidential debate? >> well, brooke, they say the entire tape of the entire speech has not been widely circulated.
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so that's why they put the exclusive label on it. timing is everything. it is a political year. could be a way to fire up conservatives at crunch time, also, as simple as maybe the daily caller somehow discovered this tape, but they had something exclusive, ran with it. either way, it is safe to say it is old news. the reason it gets attention from conservatives is there is a school of thought out there that says the president has deeply held views on race. other issues he's never fully shared with the american people but shape his policy. for example, it is the premise of the movie out in theaters 2016, obama's america, a conservative doomsday scenario made almost $30 million in theaters nationwide. and this tape, according to daily caller and others, provides more fodder for those ideas. one thing that is interesting to say, brooke, the timing of this, 24 hours before debate, so whatever happens at the debate tonight, a lot of people think it will just knock it out of the
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spotlight. so if this was some kind of orchestrated attack, it may have only had a shelf life of one day. >> isn't the romney campaign distancing itself from this particular video, tell me what they're saying specifically or in the saying, what about the romney campaign as well. >> pretty frank on the romney side. they say they had nothing to do with the release of this tape whatsoev whatsoever. the obama campaign says this is a conservative attempt to distract from the negative press romney has received over the tape with the 47% comment and all the rest. you know, that was a speech widely reported on by the media at the time. at least this obama thing was. >> joe johns, thank you. i want to just kind of continue the conversation, give it a little context with howard kurtz, the host of cnn's "reliable sources," washington bureau chief, just on the phone with me from denver. howard, the speech is being billed as if no one covered it
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at the time. we have pulled multiple clips, cnn clips from 2007, from our archives, let me just play that. >> democratic presidential candidate senator barack obama suggesting there is disconnect and a serious disconnect in the african-american community and he's invoking the memory of the deadly 1992 los angeles riots. >> these quiet riots that take place every day. >> a new controversy involving democratic presidential candidate barack obama, have you heard his warning about quiet riots? >> quiet riots that take place every day. >> so why, howard, why pretend this is newly uncovered when it is so easy to disprove? >> brooke, it is the mainstream media trying to cover up the 2007 speech, they did a lousy job of it as you just demonstrated by playing the clips from cnn. this is the biggest disappointment since geraldo opened al capone's safe.
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on the dredge report, and it was played up on the fox news show and yet as you just amply demonstrated, nothing new about this piece. the reason it didn't cause much of a ripple at the time is that candidate barack obama didn't say anything terribly controversial, he did talk about lack of a federal aggressive federal response to the katrina disaster in new orleans, he did say that black people were frustrated living in the inner cities, not having any hope. none of which is inflammatory as the daily caller and sean hannity seem to think. >> maybe it is desperation as some critics are saying. the timing is key. to be fair, howard, this video tactic is being deployed by the other side as well. we pulled out this clip. this has popped up on the huffington post. >> gthe good news is survey aftr survey, poll after poll still shows that we are a center right 70/30 country. 70% of americans want the
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american dream. they believe in the american idea. only 30% want the welfare state. >> so, again, just context for our viewers that was paul ryan, this is a speech from last november. the whole speech has been on youtube since last fall. so my question to you, howie kurtz, are there really substantive points to be scored here by drudging up these all videos? >> there can be. i don't have any problem with it, people on either side drudging up old videos. it helps if the video you're drudging up has never been seen or heard before, then it has some shock value. there can be substantive and revealing comments in what people say when they think the spotlight is not on them. but in the case of this particular obama speech at hampton university in virginia in 2007, he delivered it in front of a bunch of reporters. cameras there. the surprise factor has been lost here. >> you covered the media. as we mentioned it right wing
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radio, right wing conservative television today, pointing at the -- it is the mainstream media, this is all the mainstream media, my question is, their ratings are high, they bring in the big bucks, aren't they mainstream media too? when does that narrative stop? >> well, the mainstream media is a very convenience for commentators on the right, particularly fox news which loves to bash the msn and there was a time when conservatives other than fox radio didn't have much of a megaphone. now they have plenty of ways of getting their message out. they are part of the media. in this polarized environment, they can point and say all the new york times, the washington post, they're all biased, that's why they covered up this obama speech, but it wasn't really covered up, it was covered at the time, not in a huge way, because it was not particularly inflammatory. >> howard kurtz for me from denver. thank you. coming up next, millions will be watching the candidates on the debate stage tonight. we're about to show you the
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millions will be watching the presidential debate tonight and hopefully that includes you. but what i want to show you now is something you won't see on television. cnn's mark preston with a behind the scenes look. >> as you can see, reporters from around the world, they're setting up now to cover this debate. 3,000 in total, 700 of them are coming from other countries. let's head inside now where the action is going to take place. you might be wondering who is going to be sitting in the audience tonight for the first presidential debasement i don't note a know the answer. >> we'll have students, vips and
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those that the campaigns invited down on the floor. some up in the balcony behind us. >> so how do you get invited to this debate if you don't get an invitation from one of the candidates? >> it would be very difficult to get into the debate. >> who is going to be at that far podium in. >> at the far podium will be governor romney. and at the near podium president obama. >> and how is it going to work? who gets first question? >> mr. lehrer will direct the first question to president obama. he'll have two minutes to respond and governor romney will have two minutes to respond to the same question. >> how is this all going to work in this 90-minute debate format? >> we think having the six segments will encourage detailed discussion about these topics and mr. lehrer will try to facilitate it, an in depth discussion that is substantive and focuses on the details. >> you might think the best seat in the house is on the floor, but i would argue it is on the riser here. this is where candy crowley is going to be sitting as she watches and as she gives her
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analysis of about what she expects to see tonight. if you wonder where i'll be tonight, well, i'm sitting in my seat here, where hundreds of journalists will be reporting on the debate. as you can see there are tv monitors set up across this place. and in a sign of the times, it look like mitt romney has his own tv studio set up, probably a place where he -- they can put guests out to do interviews with local television stations across the country. also a place where they're going to be watching the debate, not to be outdone here behind the red curtain, barack obama has the same kind of setup. and, of course, these two studios, butt up against the spin room, the spin room is where we see surrogates, some top campaign officials that come after the debate and they're going to try to tell us why they think their candidate won. >> mark preston living the veil for us. thank you. economists and former republican presidential adviser ben stein says no one knows mitt
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romney. his comments sparking quite the reaction. ben joins me live next. i've discovered gold. [ female announcer ] new roc® retinol correxion max. the power of roc® retinol is intensified with a serum. it's proven to be 4x better at smoothing lines and deep wrinkles than professional treatments. roc® max for maximum results. and deep wrinkles than professional treatments. ♪ forz(power!) andiamo! andiamo! (let's go! let's go!) avanti! avanti! (keep going! keep going!) hahaha...hahahaha!
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both campaigns have been fighting to lower expectations
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for their candidate going into tonight's presidential debate. it looks like mitt romney's team has won that battle. 56% of likely voerters expect barack obama to win. my next guest, check out this quote, quote, even to me, who is a political animal, mr. romney is a mystery man. is he the best most honest governor massachusetts has ever had but a distinct liberal or is he now a conservative? what does he stand for? that was written by well known economist and author ben stein who has a brand-new book called "how to really ruin your financial life and portfolio." ben stein, welcome. welcome back. >> always a pleasure. >> so in defining who he is, what he would do when elected, is that challenge number one for
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mitt romney tonight? >> i think it is. i think, well, two challenges, one, explain to people that three and a half to four years is long enough for president obama's policies to work. they haven't worked. so something is wrong. and mr. obama doesn't have a clue about how to fix it or change it. two, mr. romney has to put forward a program which says in detail what i'll do. look, when reagan was running in '80 and again in '84, he had an extremely detailed, specific set of plans, programs,principles. we're not seeing that from mr. romney. a few generalities, but i want to see some specifics and i want him to connect each one up with how many jobs it is going to give us. >> you're looking for specifics tonight. what about, though, as you
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mentioned the economy, what about the battle for the middle class? you have joe biden as -- let me just play this clip in case our viewers haven't seen it, he really stepped in it yesterday when he said this was in charlotte. >> this is deadly earnest. how they can justify -- how they can justify raising taxes in the middle class who has been buried the last four years, how -- >> buried the last four years. of course, most of the last four years under the obama administration. so, before we chat, mr. stein, i do need to play this follow-up clip, the vice president, you know, coming back and explaining his comment. this was later in asheville. >> the middle class was buried by the policies of romney and that ryan supported. as bill clinton, all they're suggesting now when asked about this and he's the best, he made the comment, he said, what they're proposing is bush economic policies on steroids.
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that's what this is. >> on the flip side, ben, you have the mitt romney secretly taped comments, the 47%, what does he do? what does he need to do to overcome this perception, he's this rich guy out to help the rich? >> first of all, we had lots of very rich presidents who have been helpful. fdr was one of the richest men in the country. his family ate off gold plates. john f. kennedy was one of the very richest people in america. he was a very fine president. the fact that lbj was fantastically rich, a fine president. the fact that they're rich doesn't mean they're bad presidents. not in the slightest. i think mr. romney has to do is go to some kind of chart or something out of his head where he says, we're going to do x, that will give us 700,000 to 900,000 jobs. we're going to do y, that will give us 1.2 million jobs and he's got to run through this and explain why and exactly it is different, a, from what mr. romney -- sorry beg your pardon, for what mr. obama is proposing
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and what mr. bush did. it did result in a lot of terrible failures, so he's got to differentiate himself from the incumbent, mr. obama and the previous incumbent and say i've got something new and different and i've got proof that it works. >> okay. but -- >> not easy. not easy at all. not easy. >> and obviously they have been working, working, working until this final sort of -- this evening. the pundits, they thought the economy would be president obama's undoing when you look at the numbers and the romney campaign asked a good amount of capital on the idea. doesn't seem to be working out that way. why not? >> well, it is interesting, the reason in large part why it is it isn't is the very people worst affected by the economy are diehard obama supporters. and they tend to be nonwhite, and they are very, very negatively affected by the economy. but they're also very devoted to mr. obama. he's not mr. rom -- mr. romney is not able to pry the people loose and get them republican.
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the african-american community has not voted republican in a large way in a very long time and it seems unlikely to change anytime soon. those are the key votes that put mr. obama over the top. that's fine. their votes are very, very important and they have a certain set of grievances, which are perfectly legitimate. they're allowed, of course, as anyone else is in this country, to vote how they please. but that i think explains why the economic problems are not hurting mr. obama more. >> a lot of people say style versus substance. ben stein, i'll be watching right along with you tonight. thank you, sir. >> thank you. the presidential contest not the only political race heating up as we have been showing you this week. there is this bitter battle for control of congress including one very important race here involving a professional wrestling executive. you've been busy for a dead man. after you jumped ship in bangkok,
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i thought i'd lost you. surfing is my life now. but who's going to .... tell the world that priceline has even faster, easier ways to save you money. . . on hotels, flights & cars? you still have it. i'll always have it. so this is it? we'll see where the waves take me. sayonara, brah!
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and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well.
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private companies added 165,000 new jobs. that was in september. that report coming from the payroll processing company, adp, better than economists expected. the number is down from august by 27,000 jobs. let me go to alison kosik at the new york stock exchange. putting this in perspective for me, how big a deal is this. is this a precursor? >> the way adp is, brooke, it isn't the best indicator but gives us a good idea of what the government jobs report will look like on friday. that's the one that counts and the expectation is the economy added 110,000 jobs in september. that one factors in both private and public sector jobs. of course, the big question is 110,000 considered good? well, it is not great, but it is certainly much better than the depth of the recession if you want a comparison when we lost
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800,000 positions a month. the job market has gotten stuck. we're only adding enough jobs, brooke, to keep up with population growth. that's not that good. >> we'll talk on friday and see how those numbers do finally look. alison, thank you very much. and roll the open. here we go. top of the hour, thanks for being with me, i'm brooke baldwin. huge, exciting, super bowl for all of us political nerds, whatever you want to call it. we are hours away from the first presidential debate. you have heard the pundits, you have heard the pregame, but i'm about to show you what each man will say tonight in his own words, think about it, it is easy to do. just follow president obama, follow mitt romney out on the campaign trail, so here is what we're calling the debate before the debate. >> he thinks if we just spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts for the wealthiest americans, if we get rid of regulations on wall street, then all our problems will be solved. and jobs and prosperity will
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trickle down on all of you and the deficit will disappear and we'll live happily ever after. there is only one problem with that. we tried that in the decade before i became president. it didn't work. top down economics never works. >> i know there are some people in this country that think that the government's role is to take from some to give to others. i'm not talking about the effort to care for those in need. we're a compassionate people. we always care for those that have needs of one kind or another and help people get back on their feet. but he wants to redistribute. and the idea is to try and level incomes. and that's a concept which is not entirely novel, it has been tried other places in the world. it just never worked. the only system that ever worked to create permanent middle class prosperity is free enterprise and free people pursuing their dreams. i have five things i'm going to
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do to get this economy going. and they're going to create 12 million jobs. number one, taking advantage of our energy resources, our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewable, getting north american energy independence. that will keep our gasoline prices more moderate and will provide us with a lot of jobs in the energy sector and in manufacturing. because when energy is less expensive, manufacturing will come home. >> you can look at his plan and look at my plan. because he wants to keep open these tax loopholes that encouraged jobs overseas. i want to make sure we're providing tax breaks for companies right here in america. i want to help big factories and small businesses double their exports. want more goods stamped with made in america. i want to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. >> obama care is point number one. it is the example number one where he wants to put bureauc t bureaucrats between you and your doctor.
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he believes that government should tell you what kind of insurance you have to have. he believes that government should have a board of people that tell you what kind of care to receive. my view is we fight for freedom in this country, i do not want an intrusive, massive, larger government that crushes the american dream. >> they like to call it obama care. well, let me tell you, i do care. i care about all the young people who are able to stay on their parents' plans now. i care about the seniors who are seeing lower prescription drug costs. i care about folks with pre-existing conditions, who can't be denied care now. >> the debate for the debate. we are now, count them with me, six hours away and roll some tape here. we have video of the president leaving las vegas, where he staged his last minute preparations. there he goes, up the stairs. the president now on his way to denver. the site of the first presidential debate that begins 9:00 eastern. with me now from the beautiful
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city, the mile high city there in denver, with a couple of things to watch for tonight, cnn political reporter peter hamby and our political editor paul steinhauser. gentlemen, hello. i want to begin with you, because, you know, we'll take these in no particular order, but women and hispanics, what are you talking about there? >> yeah, look, this is the debate about domestic issues. if president obama does not bring up immigration and women's health issues tonight, i would be shocked. if you go to any poll, obama has huge advantages over romney among women and among hispanic voters. these are things that are keeping him afloat in the poll numbers because he's in trouble with independents, in trouble when people are asked is the country on the right track or the wrong track. romney's conservative positions on immigration and on things like abortion and contraception have really hurt him. our cnn poll that came out yesterday had obama beating romney by a wide, wide margin. romney only hitting 26% among hispanic voters in that poll which is devastating for his
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campaign and among women, just look at a poll out today from nbc and the wall street journal in ohio where obama is cruising. one reason is because obama has a 17-point advantage among women. look at polls in virginia and florida. it is much tighter because the margin is tighter among women. so romney has to come in tonight and answer questions about immigration and women's issues in a way that doesn't turn off voters. mccain during a discussion about abortion made an angry reference to the health of the mother, he used air quotes and if you're watching dial testing, his numbers among women really tanked during that debate when he made that sort of off-handed remark and went on to lose the election by 13 points among women. so that's going to be something i'm going to be watching tonight, brooke. >> not just the words that come out of their mouths, but it is how they speak, right? the facial expressions, the air kwoemt quotes, everything else. what about the presidential test, who is considered more
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presidential? does the president have the advantage there? he is -- he is the commander in chief after all. >> yeah, he's already been in the white house for three and a half years. you could say he has the upper hand here. this is i think most important thing. one liners, zingers, sure. we'll keep our eyes out for them and they could play a big role. but the big thing is to act presidential. the ball is in mitt romney's court. he needs to convey to americans he is acceptable in the white house and can be comfortable with him as their commander in chief over the next four years. so this could really start right off the bat. i think the tone will be set in the first half hour. most people watch usually the first half hour, 45 minutes of the debate and then sometimes the numbers st s start to trail. here is the tight rope, they both have to act presidential -- >> they have to relate. >> they have to relate. they also have to be on the offense to go on the attack against the other guy and bring it to the other guy. it is a delicate dance. be presidential, but also go on
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the attack. >> you mentioned the zingers. how do you -- how if you're the other guy, how do you take the zing out of the zinger? >> a cutting one liner there has been a lot of talk about zingers in the media, after the new york times referenced it, romney has been preparing one liners for months. and the minute that romney does unleash his one liner, you know, i can be sure the political class is going to joke and mock and elbow each other and go here comes the one liner. but a cutting one liner in a debate can have an impact. they might think that has a big impact. the problem with zingers, it is so roundly mocked that the point that if romney does land a punch, the obama campaign come back and say he was focusing on practicing the one liners, no surprise he got a good one in there. this is about more serious things than zingers. i think that's the predictable obama campaign response in the spin room tonight if that does
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happen. >> i'll be watching and watching both of your twitter pages. i want to catch the zing and the zingless zings. it is fascinating. we'll be watching it like the super bowl we love to watch. thank you so much. quick reminder, of course, the debate, 9:00 eastern. please join us, though, at 7:00, all the pregame with the a-team on cnn, 7:00 eastern. some say it is more about style than substance. i'll speak live with a debate coach who will talk to me about each candidate's strengths and weaknesses. i'm brooke baldwin. the news is now. from the middle east to the middle class. the five events that could become october surprises. john avalon and margaret hoover join me live. plus, since health care is a huge issue tonight, find out how each man can score a political point. and after tonight, she's up,
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candy crowley moderating the second presidential debate. she'll tell me the questions neither man has answered. ♪ ♪ ♪ hi dad. many years from now, when the subaru is theirs... hey. you missed a spot. ...i'll look back on this day and laugh. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. that's a good thing, but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. so consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company.
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mitt romney and president obama have not appeared on the same stage in nearly eight years. did you know that? since they were both speaking at a white tie washington dinner in 2004. and you know we all have seen them in tossing verbal punches at one another for months, but tonight it is face to face, the coin has been tossed. romney won, which means president obama will answer first. romney will have the final word. straight to todd graham from southern illinois university. he wrote an op-ed to tell us what the weaknesses are that we should be looking for that might be tripping up these candidates tonight. todd, welcome to you. we're going to play a couple of clips and talk through the clips and tell me what we should be looking for. let's begin as it will be the president who will be first up tonight. we'll see the president first. critics say, you know, he sometimes has a slow stuttering
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approach with long witted answers. let's roll this. >> when george bush came na office, we had surpluses. and now we have a half a trillion dollar deficit annually. when george bush came into office, our debt, national debt was around $5 trillion. it is now over $10 trillion. we have almost doubled it. and so while it is true that nobody is completely innocent here -- >> all right, debate coach, what did the president do right or wrong there? >> well, that's it again. it is that slow stuttering approach where he has pauses and gaps. his speech has more gaps than a zapruder film. it doesn't play very well in presidential debates. he'll be debating against mitt romney. mitt is really solid, a very smooth debater. every time the president has a pause, people might think the president doesn't know what he's going to say next. he's not prepared for the question. that's the problem in the debate. >> fine line between pausing so
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everyone can understand what you're talking about and i suppose pausing too long. >> oh, sure. it is also one of his strengths. he's a very thoughtful person. so if you like him, you'll see the pauses as him being thoughtful. if you don't like him, you'll think he needs a teleprompter. >> mitt romney, we both know debaters from both parties occasionally like to dodge questions. is there an art to do so gracefully, check this out. >> you asked me an entirely different question. >> beats me. don't know. where are we at, john? >> what do you see there? >> that was a disaster. that was south carolina, i believe. he had two terrible debates in south carolina. the only two i said he lost. and he in fact ended up losing that primary to newt gingrich. you just can't do that in debates. they were stumbles he doesn't normally have. and i would expect him to have corrected those. >> and then it is not just the words, but it is the body
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language. and you have written in your op-ed piece that romney sometimes has an -- if you watch, he has a bit of an awkward smile when his opponent is talking, right? >> he does. you have to remember the camera is on you even if you're not speaking. if they're saying ugly things about you, yoube smiling. it is an awkward smirk. >> you have the president, here is an example, we have an example of him raising his hands, pointing his finger, while his opponent answered a question, wait for it, and you'll see, the president do this, good or bad move? >> i don't think it is a particularly good move. i've always been told to kind of, you know, keep that finger down. you don't know what's going to happen once you start pointing to somebody. it could go off. i think you keep the finger pointing away. >> bottom line, who wins? >> i think it will be a great
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debate. i don't know who wins. i'll tell you tomorrow. >> way to dodge the question, todd. way to be a good debater. todd graham, thank you very much. we'll follow up with you and see what you think tomorrow. when tonight's debate turns to health care specifically, there are going to be in the 15 minute chunks topically, will the candidates be talking about your health or your wallet? we will show you why money is likely to dominate the conversation of health care tonight and where the political points can be scored. for my type 2 diabetes. me... thinking my only option was the vial and syringe dad used. and me... discovering once-daily levemir® flexpen. flexpen® is prefilled. doesn't need refrigeration for up to 42 days. no drawing from a vial. dial the exact dose. inject by pushing a button. flexpen® is insulin delivery... my way. levemir® (insulin detemir [rdna origin] injection) is a long-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes and is not recommended to treat diabetic ketoacidosis. do not use levemir® if you are allergic
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big on the agenda during tonight's presidential debate. health care. the whole segment, all 15 minutes dedicated to this crucial issue and elizabeth cohen is here to talk about, you know, where each candidate stands, how they can score political points. let's begin with where they do stand currently on health care. >> their stands are so different. so different. let's look at obama care, which bewe all kn we all know, but a refresher course. it tells americans you have to buy insurance and it tells insurance companies you have to take everybody, even if they an existing precondition. and romney's plan, he has no mandate you have to buy insurance and fewer requirements
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on insurance companies, not as many as obama has. >> watching romney tonight, what does he do, what does he say to score political points? >> i think he's going to continue with this new attack that he's been doing. he has a new ad out that says, hey, because of health care reform, the middle class is going to have to pay more taxes. he hasn't really taken this tone quite as much as he has recently. let's listen to this ad a little bit. >> their plan includes a trillion dollars in higher taxes. even on the middle class. mitt romney and common sense conservatives will cut taxes on the middle class. >> what he means there, brooke, if you don't buy insurance, you're going to have to pay money to the federal government, the supreme court called the attacks, so he said, look, obama with his health care -- reform,g your taxes. obama might say, gee what is your health care plan, mr. romney. he has so few details. he did in massachusetts, but he's now sort of distancing
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himself from that. doesn't talk about that. says it was good for massachusetts at the time. for the federal government, he doesn't have a lot of details. people with pre-existing conditions, how do they get insurance? he hasn't laid that out in full detail. >> what about medicare? medicare comes up tonight. where do they stand there? >> it has come up so many times. romney will say, obama is cutting medicare, that's for seniors, which obama denies. it is interesting because they have been saying this for months. let's look at the newest cnn orc poll. this is a really recent poll, obama, the question was asked who would better handle medicare. 52% said obama and 44% romney. that's a big difference. interesting to see if that changes after the debate. >> as we mentioned, these are 15-minute topical chunks, health care getting an entire solid
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chunk. after they answer the initial questions, that's a lot of time. >> that's right. that's really unusual. and it shows you how important health care is in this particular election. >> it affects every single one of us. elizabeth cohen, thank you very much. >> and now this, breaking news here, breaking news in to cnn. we're getting word that turkey has retaliated in response to this deadly attack by syria. this news just coming in to us here at cnn. we'll take you live to istanbul, explain what is happening right now next. [ male announcer ] this is rudy. his morning starts with arthritis pain.
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♪ there are laws so, explain this.? how can something get bigger.. and smaller? there's more of it.. and less of it? well, i guess the laws of physics are more like.. general guidelines. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i got a medicare supplement insurance plan. [ male announcer ] if you're eligible for medicare, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. call and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement plans, it could save you thousands in out-of-pocket costs. call now to request your free decision guide.
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i've been with my doctor for 12 years. now i know i'll be able to stick with him. you'll be able to visit any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare patients. plus, there are no networks, and you never need a referral. see why millions of people have already enrolled in the only medicare supplement insurance plans endorsed by aarp. don't wait. call now. breaking news here. we're going to talk about turkey and syria. because this is significant. this is the first exchange we have seen thus far. here is what happened. turkey has now hit targets in syria in response to a mortar strike across the border today that killed five people. here is the map and you can see where this happened. killing five people in this turkish border town.
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we have ivan watson joining me live on the phone from istanbul. ivan, explain -- tell me as much as you know and why this is a first. >> moments ago, brooke, the turkish government announced it carried out artillery strikes, guided by radar, against points in syria and that this was retaliation for syrian mortar strikes on a turkish border town that smacked right up against the syrian border, a town called akcakale where a mother, three of her children and a female neighbor and half a dozen other turks as well as several police officers were wounded in this incident. this town was shelled last week by syrian mortars. and the turks lodged a formal protest with the united nations. now we have got a deadly ins department here a
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incident here and the turks are retaliating to what they're calling a provocation by the syrian armed forces. >> this is incredibly significant as you point out. this is retaliation on behalf of turkey. thus far we have seen you talking about turkey, talking about the syrian refugees, pouring in through the border seeking safe haven. and now to think this mother, three children and a female neighbor have been killed, did this, ivan, did this just change the -- change the entire landscape here? >> well, these two neighbors were friends two years ago. now it is very safe to say that they're enemies. the turkish government called on the syrian president bashar al assad to step down due to his crackdown on his own citizens. and there have been a number of incidents between the two countries. last june, syrian antiaircraft defenses shot down a turkish military reconnaissance jet, killing two pilots, both sides disagree on where exactly that incident took place. but the turks did not really fire back. they didn't use force aside from condemning that attack.
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the syrians accused turkey of arming the rebels that are fighting against bashar al assad's regime. so this is a very tense relationship and there are voices here at turkey calling for more significant retaliation in response to the death of these five turkish citizens. >> how do the turks feel, ivan, when it comes to possible military intervention in syria? >> i think there are a lot of misgivings, brooke. there are a lot of voices here that are afraid that turkey could be dragged into a war with syria. opposition, political parties have spoken out against the government's policy of supporting the syrian opposition and supporting the syrian rebels. they actually accused the u.s. of trying to outsource turkey to try to bring down the assad regime. those are charges that the turkish government of course denies. in addition to the tension between the two neighbors and
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the fact that trade is completely virtually stopped, you have more than 93,000 syrian refugees living in camps in turkey and another 40 to 50,000 more and that's creating a lot of political confusion and tension among local societies that are pretty worried about having so many refugees suddenly swamped into their communities. >> looking at the scars and some of these children, i know you've covered a lot of the children, these refugees in some of these camps, fleeing for their lives into turkey. ivan watson, we won't go too far from you. calling from istanbul after we have seen the retaliation involving both turkey and syria here. much more on the breaking news in just a moment. first, back here at home, it is called an october surprise, a story, you know, poof, out of nowhere, that can change the dynamics of a presidential election. john avalon has five possibilities. margaret hoover responds. they're live. they're next.
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34 days until the election, what kind of october surprise could be lurking in the wings for barack obama or mitt romney? for pure political speculation purposes, let's bring in our favorite -- favorite married cnn contributors. you got me all flustered. margaret hoover and john avalon. great to see you. albeit in different cities, you're so far apart. both great to talk about all things politics. so, john avalon, let me begin with you. read your column in the daily beast pointing out the five october surprises beginning with, you know, three words. libya, syria, iran, what is the biggest threat? >> well, look, the breaking news right now is an indication of just how fragile, of course, the world we live in now is. the next external event can change the frame of the national debate in the weeks coming up to
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the election. right now ear seeing increased scrutiny on the administration about their response and disclosures in the wake of the killing of our ambassador in benghazi, congressional hearings there. syria can heat up. >> let me interrupt you. let me go to your wife. >> yes, please. >> do you think that mitt romney should bring up some questions being called upon the administration when it comes to happened in benghazi? >> look, i think that in the context of what is president obama's larger middle east strategy and what the romney campaign refers to as a possible unraveling of it, it is absolutely legitimate to raise that in the context of all of it together and suggest the president has had perhaps a failed foreign policy agenda. >> go ahead, job. >> this is a domestic debate. they're going to have to do it in a way that doesn't clearly violate the focus of this debate, that's a difficult line to walk. >> they're talking economy. all the different chunks of the debate, 15 minutes, 15 minutes
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here and there, a lot having to do with the economy. and let's talk about the october jobs numbers, one of your october surprises. they will be released f ed four before november 6th. the big one that could be the big one, right, for both of you, for voters heading to the voting booths. >> that's right. you can set your watch to that one. just days before. if it is a bad jobs number, that's the last psychological impression the voters go to the ballot booth on tuesday will have on issue number one, the economy. >> margaret hoover, let's talk about your piece on cnn.com. you called it romney's best bet, be mr. fix it. you talk about something mitt romney is not talking about very much, romney care. let me quote you. even more striking is romney's biggest legislative feat, the one he refuses to talk about, romney care. mr. fix it managed to briefly bring the conservative heritage foundation and liberal lion senator ted kennedy together to pass landmark health care legislation in his state.
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is he going to talk about it? sort of like dammed if he does, dammed if he doesn't. >> he has to talk about it. they have 15 minutes to talk about health care tonight. that's an entire segment. that's a sixth of the entire debate. he has to double down and own it. president obama, in contrast to governor romney, actually is not running on any major bipartisan legislative achieve. mitt romney can look to his record and say independent voters, you don't like the fact that washington is polarized, that this president hasn't been able to change the tone, but in my state, i was able to work with an 85% democratic legislature to get historic legislation through that even ted kennedy and the heritage institution, sv think tank in washington, agreed upon. >> do you agree? >> i do. and in this case, i do because this is the moment for the etch-a-sketch. mitt romney has to tack back to the center. he has been playing the base, a losing strategy in the american electorate this is one way to do it, stress his bipartisan bona
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fides in a place he may be uncomfortable with but he's got to own. >> margaret, john, do you get to watch the debate together or no? >> no. >> on the phone. >> not tonight. >> all right, guys. thank you very much. we'll talk next time. want to remind you all, cnn's live coverage begins at 7:00 eastern. the debate 9:00 tonight. much more on our breaking news here as we're getting word that turkey has now retaliated in response to a deadly attack by syria. this news just now coming in to us. senior international correspondent nic robertson who just got back from damascus, capital city of syria, happens to be here. he'll head into the studio in a moment and explain what is happening, put it in perspective for us right now. that's next. ♪ [ man ] excuse me miss. [ gasps ] this fiber one 90 calorie brownie has all the moist, chewy, deliciousness you desire. mmmm. thanks.
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want to let you know, we have breaking news here internationally. here's what we know. we just talked to ivan watson for us across the border from
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syria. and he basically explained that turkey today hit -- excuse me, syria initially hit turkey in this mortar attack and for the very first time that prompted retaliation from turkey. we know five people were killed in this turkish border town. he explained to me it was a mother, three children and a female neighbor. but, again, he was talking about how the turkey certainly fears now being just to the north of syria now dragged potentially into this civil war that killed some 28,000 people since last march. we're working on getting more information. also senior international correspondent nic robertson will be joining me in studio here in just a moment. we won't go too far from that. but i do want to talk politics here as we are just hours away from, as you know, the very first presidential debate of the 2012 election. and while president obama and mitt romney will certainly be, you know, duking it out for the white house, democrats and republicans are also battling it out for control of the senate as
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well. and today as we continue this series here, we have our eyes on a race this is a huge senate race in indiana, where tea party favorite richard murdoch is trying to hold on to a republican seat against democratic congressman joe donley. and this senate bat unttle in connecticut where linda mcmahon is trying for a second time here to win that, you know, u.s. senate seat. she's trailing democratic congressman chris murphy in the polls right now. so the gal who has been all over this for us this week is our senior congressional correspondent dana bash. our guide to all these key, you know, senate races, and dana, i know today, you want to focus on the two senate races cause something surprising problems for both parties and that they have to defend turf they didn't expect to have to defend. talk to me about indiana first. >> that's right. that's a great example for republicans. it was a republican senate seat, has been held by richard lugar
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for decades. he is a moderate. and a tea party backed republican candidate, as he's mentioned, richard murdoch, won the republican primary and democrats have been pounding him as too conservative for the state, which is used to having senators from both parties who tend to work across party lines. he's running against a moderate democratic congressman who was really playing up his centrist credentials. and so this is a red state, but democrats really think they have an in because of their candidate. i want you to look at the two ads run by both campaigns, fascinating and telling because they're both using the same argument, even the same imagery against one another. >> indiana has two paths. richard murdoch made -- the taxpayer funded wall street bailout, even obama care. >> richard murdoch fights for tax breaks for companies that drive jobs to china. >> donley, it is my way or the
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highway. >> >> we need less reckless part partisanship and more hoosier common sense. >> i was covering this race the night that richard lugar lost the primary. he wanted to have another term but didn't get a chance to get one because of his own party. it really is one of those states that republicans did not expect to or hope to spend money in because they have problems elsewhere. but they have to now. >> a lot of money as you very well know involved in some of the races. that's indiana. connecticut here, democrats having the same problem republicans are having in indiana, correct? >> right. connecticut is historically a blue state when it comes to the senate. senator. there hasn't been a republican senator from the state of connecticut in three decades. and this is a state where you have linda mcmahon who has as you mentioned very, very deep pockets. not afraid to spend tens of millions of dollars two years
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ago. she lost but it bought her some pretty big name i.d. in the state. she's running against a democratic candidate chris murphy, sitting congressman, but less known around the state and so she is really giving him a run for his money and enough so-so ths so so that democrats are worried. how worried democrats might be, some super pacs or outside groups are spending considerable cash in the state of connecticut. this is one that democrats were hoping they could kind of put off the table, but joe lieberman is an independent, he is retiring and they're having to spend money there. i want to end with the big picture. and that is a reminding viewers the stakes here. republicans need four seats to take control of the senate. if they lose indiana, or if the flip side, if democrats lose connecticut, then it puts both of them, each of them at an
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advantage or disadvantage depending how you look at it that they didn't expect to be. >> dana bash, we'll see you tomorrow. thank you so, so much. tonight's presidential debates offer up a slightly different format. cnn's chief political correspondent candy crowley has watched a lot of these debates. she will be moderating the very next one. she'll walk us through what she's looking for, some of her veteran insight, and also talk about tonight's format and what change we might be seeing. croll. tap... pinch... and zoom... in your car. introducing the all-new cadillac xts with cue. ♪ don't worry. we haven't forgotten, you still like things to push. [ engine revs ] the all-new cadillac xts has arrived, and it's bringing the future forward.
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political junkies today is your day. our debate coverage begins at 7:00 eastern tonight on cnn. you have barack obama versus mitt romney tonight officially at 9:00 eastern time. and joining me now from denver is cnn's candy crowley, she will moderate the second presidential debate. that is coming up october 16th. candy, huge, huge honor. we'll talk about that in a
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second. first, let's talk tonight specifically the format, let me play some sound, because we have six distinct segmentsegments, so sound. do you think, candy, given the 15-minute chunks here and there that they're here and there that they're looking for substance and detail? will the format encourage that? >> reporter: i would certainly think so. let's remember the first three as far as i remember it when they put out the debate subject, number one the economy, number two the economy, number three the economy. so you add that all up. i'm getting like 45 minutes on the economy. now, it's a big subject. but i do think that there is a chance there to go in depth. but a lot of that depends on these two candidates. are they willing to go in depth? are they willing to engage with each other about specifics? are they willing to kind of reveal their specifics? in some ways it's up to them. but certainly the time is there. >> how can they not go in depth? they can't stand there and not
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say anything to fill the remaining 13, 12, 10 minutes. >> you'd be surprised how well politicians can fill time saying very little. but i would think the opportunity is there and the pressure is there particularly on mitt romney, but also on the president. there's a lot of pressure to say, okay, so how do you create jobs? we know you both want to create jobs. we know you both don't think the other is doing it the right way. what specifically are you going to do? how specifically will you bring down the deficit? there's certainly a lot of room to put some and a lot of imptous for them to put some meat on the bones. >> okay. as we look for the meat, let's talk about something we've talked about that before that being swing states. romney has really whittled the president's lead to two percentage points. these are virginia numbers now. this is a poll released by "the wall street journal" nbc news, so a two-point lead for obama down from five points last month. let me show you one more graphic. you're going to see florida numbers. similar story there.
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now a one-point lead for obama. down from four points in september. could, candy, could this debate tonight really, you know, represent romney's best chance to catch fire? >> certainly. and i don't think it's his best chance. i think it's the beginning of his best chance, if that makes sense. i don't think we've seen -- we have seen times when debates have changed things. but there still is a lot of time and two more debates for these guys plus a vice presidential debate. so it certainly can kick things off, nonincumbents, the challengers do tend to sometimes fair well after that huge debate. huge opportunity. can't blow it. but certainly he can do himself a lot of good here. to make it a permanent amount of good, you've still got two other debates and whatever is said on the campaign trail and whatever happens across the world. so there's lots of things in this mix. certainly a good debate performance could push him ahead in a lot of these swing states
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which are obviously really critical. >> you will be happy to know i talked to your friend who she told me you guys go back 30 some years, carole simpson, the very first presidential debate moderator, here are the pictures, this is from '92. she said something that got us thinking, take a listen. >> i'm disconcerted that candy crowley, who's a great political reporter, one of the best in the nation, i've known her for 30 years, she's not going to be able to ask her questions either. >> to the audience. >> so my feeling is that we are being marginalized, the women are being marginalized. either in doing the town hall debate with the people where they don't get to ask their questions, or doing the vice presidential debate like my other friend. >> when it comes to questions, i know you have many you'd like to ask. i want to hear what you would be dying to ask either of these gentlem gentlemen. we'll get that answer on the other side of this break. honey!? driftwood. come on, you gotta help us out here a little.
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romney: "it's time to stand up to the cheaters" vo: tough on china? not mitt romney. when a flood of chinese tires threatened a thousand american jobs... it was president obama who stood up to china and protected american workers. mitt romney attacked obama's decision... said standing up to china was "bad for the nation and our workers." how can mitt romney take on the cheaters... when he's taking their side?
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back to candy crowley, cnn chief political correspondent. she will be hosting the second presidential debate october 16th in new york. candy, where i left you was, if you could ask mitt romney or barack obama one question, what would it be? >> you know, here's the problem, the siphoning down, which when you're sort of looking at a debate, you're trying to kind of figure out it sounds like an hour and a half is a long time and it ends up not being that
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long of time. the problem i think i'm having now when i sort of sort through this is first of all we know that the american people are interested in the economy. so a lot depends on what they say here to jim tonight, where you go from there, what that question is. but there are other questions i think and maybe it's because we're in colorado, but there are questions after we had the shooting in aurora, colorado, which once again brought up the idea of gun control, both men basically were in the same place and said, well, we don't need additional laws. to me that's something that is an issue that maybe is not determinative for most people's votes, but it's an issue that's out there. so i'd like to sort of the things that haven't kind of bubbled up to the surface while at the same time you can't help but ask the economic questions. and the fact of the matter is, i would love to say to them, how much power do you think the president actually has to sway the course of the economy? and what power is that? because it seems to me that one of the things you learn when you
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become president is kind of that leader of the western world's not quite as powerful as it sounds particularly when it comes to trying to move an economy. so i would love to them look at that. >> and congress. >> exactly. we've talked about that before. the thing is you're going to have a congress you got to get through sochlt no matter what you think is a great idea, you've got to sell it to those guys. how do you do that? obviously this has been a problem in the first four years and will be a problem for mitt romney as well. >> candy crowley, we will look for your pregame and postgame tonight in denver. >> i miss you. >> i miss you. i wish i were there. thank you. we have two minutes before i turn you over to "the situation room," i want to follow up on our breaking news. we have senior international correspondent nic robertson just sat down here at the table. let's talk turkey. let's talk syria. syria hits turkey. turkey for the first time hits back. >> how long will they keep shelling, open questions right now. this is the first major escalation over the borders we've seen.
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we've seen syria shoot down a turkish aircraft, we've seen shells land in lebanon and in jordan over the board frer syria and landed over the border inside turkey several times. now for the first time another country is going to shoot back. what's assad's response going to be to that? i don't see him pulling back. >> whose call would that have been to retaliate? >> that would come from the prime minister. the prime minister's got a lot of political baggage tied up in syria right now. a lot of people in turkey don't like the way he's really come out against assad, that he's got so many refugees in his country. and he wants to win another election. and he's got to come out tough on this one. >> talking to ivan watsson, he said the last thing turkey wants is to get dragged into a war. >> and look it's happening. this is what we're seeing right now. how far will it go depends on the amount of shelling. >> and five people were killed in turkey, correct? >> that's what we understand. a woman and several children. >> okay. so as we continue to watch, we'll watch reaction from nato also i presume. >> tur ks are turning to n